Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
Once their minds were made up, Brian went to the phone and called the airline, paying extra to have his and Justin's tickets changed to later that afternoon. Justin stood back and watched in silence as he tried not to think about the significance of Brian's gesture. Instead of staying in his home town and spending New Year's with his friends and family, he was choosing to fly back to Denver. It showed Justin that Brian wasn't as unaffected by their relationship as he'd like to believe. He felt bad about pulling Brian away from everyone, and thought about suggesting they stay, but he knew he couldn't spend another minute in the same town as Michael. The man just rubbed him the wrong way. Besides, it was Brian's decision to fly back. All Justin did was tell him that he would be going back. He never even asked Brian to go with him.
They had a quick fuck in the shower, then packed up and prepared to leave. They agreed to stop in on Gus one more time before leaving for the airport. Gus wasn't happy that they were leaving, but after Brian promised to visit again as soon as he could, the boy settled down and allowed both men to leave without too much fanfare. The ride to the airport was made in relative silence. Justin was still walking on cloud nine due to Brian's unexpected change of plans, and Brian was still slightly fuming over Michael's obvious disdain for his partner. He would've at least expected his friend to be happy for him. Apparently that was too much to ask. He really didn't want to end their friendship after so many years, and was secretly hoping that Michael would come around in time, but he was ready to sever all ties if he had to. What choice did he have? Justin had to be put first. And as that thought entered Brian's mind, he immediately went rigid in fear. He and Justin were just playing a part, weren't they? Once their year was up, Justin would be gone from his life for the most part, leaving Brian free to resume his relationship with Michael. Yet something about his friend's attitude left him feeling cold and distant. Michael didn't know anything about John or the will. As far as anyone knew, they were really a couple and Brian wasn't sure if he could just forget about all the trouble Michael was causing. He'd have to wait and see how he felt about things before making any decisions about the future.
By the time Brian and Justin walked into the house after all the extra holiday traffic between Pittsburgh and Denver, they were both extremely exhausted and ready to lay down for awhile. They took a short nap and then spent a quiet evening home alone, just enjoying each other's company. Justin tried to broach the subject of Michael a few times, but it was obvious that Brian had no desire to talk about what went on the night before so the subject was officially dropped.
The next few days passed by rather uneventfully. With Kinnetik being closed for the holiday and Justin being between shows, they had a lot of time on their hands and used that time to clean out some of John's things that Justin had been avoiding since his death. It wasn't easy on either of them. More than once Justin lost himself in fond memories and Brian lost himself in a million what ifs, but they got the job done on the morning of New Year's Eve. They sat back once the final box was sealed up, ready for Goodwill when Brian asked Justin what he wanted to do that night.
"It's up to you. We've got a few invitations to parties. There's also a big New Year's bash at the Foxhole if you'd rather do that," Justin suggested.
"I didn't ask what we can do. I asked what you wanted to do," Brian replied. "Whatever you want is fine by me. I'd be just as content staying home and fucking through the New Year."
"You would?" Justin asked incredulously.
"Yeah, actually I would," Brian assured him. "I've spent the last fifteen or more years going out and celebrating. I wouldn't be opposed to staying in this year."
Justin was surprised by Brian's desire to stay home, but knew he needed to take the opportunity given to him. Spending the holiday at home alone could only strengthen their relationship. It's been said that those with whom you ring in the New Year are those you'll spend the rest of the year with. Justin hoped that was true. He had too much at stake where his time with Brian was concerned. He didn't know what he'd do if Brian walked out of his life when their year was up.
"After the week we've had going though all of John's things, I would be just as happy staying home tonight."
"Then it's settled. Why don't we run out and get a couple of steaks for dinner and a bottle of champagne? We can have our own, private celebration without being surrounded by a bunch of drunken assholes."
"Sounds good. Let me just jump in the shower. I feel pretty grimy after digging around in the attic all morning."
"Need some help with those hard to reach places?" Brian inquired with a hint of lust in his hazel eyes.
Justin smiled at Brian's leer. "I can always use some help with those hard to reach places," he replied before walking up the stairs, wiggling his ass, knowing that Brian would be following.
* * *
"Come on, Brian. I want to watch the ball drop," Justin whined as he tried once again to get the remote out of Brian's hand.
"What the fuck for? You've seen one ball drop, you've seen them all," Brian laughed as he held the remote up high enough so Justin couldn't reach it. "Besides, there's a good James Dean movie on AMC tonight."
"James Dean? You've got to be kidding. Isn't he, like dead or something?"
"Hey, don't go knocking James Dean. He's one of a kind," Brian replied indignantly.
"Okay, I'll make you a deal. You let me watch the ball drop and I'll give you one of my famous blowjobs afterwards. That way we're both happy," Justin reasoned.
Brian thought for a moment before replying. "That would be a great deal except for one minor detail."
"And what's that?"
"You're going to be blowing me later no matter what we watch," Brian stated.
"Oh? Are you sure about that? Maybe I won't want to blow you later."
"Yeah right," Brian chuckled. "You love blowing me almost as much as you love having me buried in your ass. Besides, it doesn't matter what's on TV. You're not going to see the ball dropping. I was serious about fucking through the New Year. I plan on having you moaning my name as the clock strikes twelve."
Justin felt an instant rush of heat radiate through his body at the thought and quickly lost his desire to watch Dick Clark's New Year's Special. "What channel is AMC?"
Brian smiled triumphantly as he turned on the movie and just as promised, by the time twelve o'clock rolled around, the two of them were lost in passion and Justin was moaning Brian's name over and over again.
* * *
On January second Brian was more than ready to get down to business again. The first call he placed once he walked through the door of Kinnetik was to Ted. He needed to reaffirm his desire to follow through with the plans they had discussed at Christmas time. Ted, once again, tried to talk Brian out of rushing to open a new branch of Kinnetik. He claimed that new businesses needed a few years to get on the map before expanding into various states and that Brian would be better off sticking it out with just the Denver location for awhile, but Brian was adamant and refused to listen to reason. After much debate, Ted agreed to start looking into locations based on Brian's criteria and to keep his mouth shut while he did it. Brian gave him Cynthia's cell phone number so that he could keep her informed of what he was doing and promised a big pay off for a job well done before bidding him goodbye and hanging up. He then threw himself into his work, wanting to make up for his time away and still make it home in time to have dinner with Justin. Things between them had been really good since the talk they had in New York and he didn't want to do anything to ruin the time they had left.
Meanwhile Justin was at home, trying desperately to throw himself into his art, but failing miserably. He couldn't stop thinking about the holiday and the time he and Brian spent together. He was more convinced than ever that they could have a real future together if not for Brian's commitment anxiety. He'd been wracking his brain for weeks, wondering what he could do to get Brian to see what he saw when he thought about the life they could have together, but he came up empty. Time was running out, and every day that passed brought them one day closer to Brian's birthday and to their inevitable separation. He knew he was taking a big risk when he agreed to Brian's stupid plan, but he somehow thought that, given enough time, he could get Brian to see past his fears and accept his love. He should have known better. All he managed to do was fall even more in love with the auburn-haired man, sealing his fate to end up with a broken heart. He couldn't even think about how he was going to go on once Brian was back in Pittsburgh. It was too hard to imagine an empty bed every night. To even consider the overwhelming loss he was destined to experience in a mere few months.
Losing John had been devastating to him, but at least that loss was something that had been involuntary. John was sick and needed to move on and find the peace he'd been desperate for since AIDS invaded his body. Justin could take some satisfaction in knowing that John was no longer suffering. Losing Brian, knowing the man was choosing to leave, was a completely different story and Justin was beginning to wonder if he had the strength to sit back and watch him walk away. Shaking off the depressing thoughts that were weighing on him, Justin cleaned up his barely used brushes and went to jump in the shower. It was apparent that he wasn't going to be getting any work done, so he figured he'd make better use of his time.
Brian walked into the house a little after seven, ready to relax after a very productive day. He called out for Justin, but when he got no answer, he walked upstairs and into the bedroom. He took a quick shower and came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist to find a note addressed to him leaning up against the mirror on his dresser. He must have missed it when he first walked in. Noticing Justin's handwriting, he smiled to himself as he opened up the folded piece of paper and scanned the words before him.
After your shower, come down and join me by the pool. I'll be waiting for you.
P.S. Clothing is not necessary.
Brian felt a surge of heat rush straight to his groin as his mind conjured up the vision of Justin laying naked by the pool waiting for him. He quickly discarded his towel and headed back downstairs with a spring in his step and a grin on his face. As soon as he opened the door to the pool room, he noticed the candles that provided the only lighting source to the room other than the lights that shone across the bottom of the pool. Justin was lounging on one of the chairs to the right, a champagne glass in his hand. An area of the floor alongside of him was covered with a cloth and there was what appeared to be a tray of food as well as a bucket of ice with a bottle inside in the center. The whole scene before him was desperately romantic, but strangely enough, almost comforting to Brian after a long day at the office.
"You're late," Justin accused teasingly, his voice without a trace of anger.
"Sorry, it was a busy day," Brian replied as he slowly approached Justin. "But if I knew you'd be sitting here like this waiting for me, I would've left early; to hell with business."
Justin chuckled softly as he reached for the second glass and filled it with champagne before handing it to Brian. "Don't worry. I know you very well by now. I waited until you pulled into the driveway before coming in here."
Brian laughed as he took the offered glass and took a sip, relishing the smooth liquid. "So, what are we celebrating?"
"Well, since we officially missed the celebration of the New Year the other night, I thought we could try again," Justin explained, blushing slightly at the memory of the lovemaking that kept them from ringing in the New Year properly.
"And you thought that by being in here naked, we would be able to do it right this time? I hate to break it to you, Sunshine, but seeing you laid out like that makes me want to reenact the exact moment that made us miss the celebration the first time around," Brian replied huskily as his semi-hard cock began stiffening even more.
"I was hoping you would say that, which is why we're starting so early. I figured that by the time midnight rolled around we'd be completely sated and able to just relax and enjoy being together."
"We only have about four hours to become completely sated. I'm not sure if that's going to be enough time."
"Well then I suggest you get over here, Stud. We have some work to do," Justin demanded gently.
Brian didn't have to be told twice as he climbed up over Justin and got down to business.
After many rounds by the pool, Brian and Justin were indeed sated and upstairs in bed. Brian was lying on his back with Justin's head resting on his chest when he saw the clock strike twelve. "Happy New Year, Justin," he whispered softly.
"Happy New Year," Justin replied, hoping that it did turn out to be a happy new year.
* * *
The next few months flew by quickly; too quickly for Justin's liking. He was still no closer to finding a way to keep Brian in Denver and was beginning to run out of hope. By the time their ten month anniversary rolled around, his despair was beginning to show to those around him. Arthur had begun commenting on his mood swings and his work was suffering terribly. He didn't know what to do about the depression that was settling in over the loss that was coming. He wished he had someone to talk to about Brian, but no one knew the mess they had gotten into after John's death. Despite all of their ups and downs, everyone around them really believed that what he and Brian had together was genuine. He had no one to turn to and knew that if he tried to broach the subject with Brian, that he'd just be ruining what little time they had left.
Justin was sitting in the study one night, waiting for Brian to get home when the phone rang. He figured it was Brian calling to say that he'd be late for dinner and was surprised to find Brian's friend Ted on the line.
"Hi Justin, It's Ted. Is Brian there? He's not at the office and his cell phone went right to voicemail."
"Sorry Ted, but he hasn't gotten home yet. I'm expecting him any minute, so he must be on that stretch of road that doesn't have any reception. Do you want me to have him call you when he gets in?" Justin offered.
"No, I'm actually out on a date. I just excused myself to make the call because I promised I'd get back to him before the day was out. Just tell him that Mr. Townsend accepted his offer for the office space and he should be able to take possession in thirty days. I'll fax him the necessary documents to his private line tomorrow morning. I know he's trying to keep things under wraps until all the final details are worked out. I'd better get back to Blake. Have a good night."
Justin stood there in shock as the line went dead. Not only was Brian's time in Denver rapidly coming to an end, but the man was already making his plans for departure, without even bothering to tell Justin about them. He blinked back the tears that were threatening to fall and nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Brian's voice behind him.
"Justin, what's wrong? Is someone on the phone?" Brian asked as he took in the strange look on Justin's face.
"What? Oh…uh…no," Justin muttered as he realized he was still holding the phone in his hand. He hung it up and turned his back to Brian, trying to regain his composure. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Tell you what?" Brian asked in confusion.
Justin waited until he was sure that his eyes were dry before turning around and facing Brian. "That was Ted on the phone. He tried calling your cell but it went right to voicemail. He said to tell you that Mr. Townsend accepted your offer and that he'd fax the necessary paperwork to your private line. Why didn't you tell me that you were looking into office space in Pittsburgh?"
Brian silently planned Ted's death as he tried to come up with the best way to handle the situation he was faced with. He wasn't stupid enough to believe that Justin wouldn't be affected by his leaving Denver and wanted to put off the inevitable talk they were going to have to have until the last possible minute. He wanted their last days together to be happy, not clouded with sadness and remorse. "Justin," he began softly.
"I just don't understand what the big deal is. It's not like I thought you were going to stay here with me. I know I'm not enough for you. You made that obvious from the very beginning. Why didn't you just tell me?"
"Look, Justin, it's not like that," Brian replied. "I was going to tell you, but I just didn't want this hanging over our heads. And my leaving has nothing to do with you not being enough for me. You have it backwards. I'm not enough for you. I can't be who you want me to be. It's not who I am. I'm a selfish bastard who only thinks of himself."
"Obviously," Justin huffed.
Hearing Justin's agreement stirred something in Brian that confused him. He knew that everyone thought of him in a bad light, but knowing that Justin did, made him feel something; an emotion that he never felt before. He didn't like it. "What difference does it make anyway? Like you said, you knew I was going to be leaving at the end of our year. I was completely honest with you from the beginning. You had to know I'd be making plans now that the year is coming to an end. You said that you understood. You said that you would be okay with our arrangement."
"I thought I would be," Justin whispered. "I don't know. I mean, I thought that maybe in time you would see how good we could be together, but I really thought that I'd be okay when you left; if you left. I was wrong. I never realized how much I would enjoy having you in my life. My God, Brian, we've been together for ten months now, living together for most of that time. Can you actually say that it's been that terrible? Has spending these months with me been so bad that you can't wait to get out of here and forget all about me?"
"Justin, I told you that it wouldn't be like that. I'll be back here occasionally for work and we could…"
"What? What, Brian? What could we do? Fuck? I could be your Denver piece of ass? Well, how fucking nice of you to offer me such a wonderful proposal. I guess I should feel honored, though, shouldn't I? I mean, the great Brian Kinney fucked me more than once. That's more than anyone else can say, isn't it? Of course it took a shitload of money to accomplish that so I guess I shouldn't let it go to my head."
"Look, I'm not going to stand here and argue with you about this. You knew I was going to be leaving. I never lied to you about that. I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was making arrangements, but I figured you knew it was coming. You do know how to read a calendar, right? I just didn't want to bring it up in hopes of avoiding a scene that was going to make our last few weeks together hell."
"Well I hate to break it to you, Mr. Kinney, but you failed miserably. But don't worry. This is going to be a very short scene. I'm going out, and when I get back I want your things out of my bedroom. I'll keep my mouth shut to everyone else, but as far as I'm concerned our year is up." Justin stormed out of the study and headed towards the door, his tears once again finding their way down his face. Just when he thought he'd make his getaway, he felt Brian grab him by the arms and spin him around forcefully.
"Justin," Brian called as he spun Justin around, but stopped when he saw the anguish and tears on the younger man's face. The sight of Justin looking so lost caused him to forget anything that he might have said.
"Brian, please just let me go," Justin said tearfully. "I'm sorry, all right? I know this isn't what you wanted. I know you were hoping for an amicable split, but I just can't give it to you. I love you, you asshole. I wish to God I didn't, but I do. Now unless you can tell me you feel the same way, we have nothing to say to each other."
Brian just looked at Justin, wishing for the first time in his life he could say the words that the blond needed to hear, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't go against everything he ever believed in; not even for someone as special as Justin.
"Please, just be out of the bedroom by the time I get back," Justin whispered before turning and running from the house, leaving Brian to stare after him, utterly speechless.
Three hours. It had been three hours since Justin had left the estate and there were still no signs of the tears letting up. He was still driving around town, lost in a sea of despair so deep that he couldn't even think straight. He knew that he overreacted to Ted's phone call. Brian was right. He knew that the day would come when Brian left him. He'd been agonizing over it for months, trying to find a way to stop the inevitable, but hearing that the plans were in motion made it all seem too real and having Brian show up immediately after the phone call didn't give him time to let the news soak in. Maybe if he had had more time to digest the news, he wouldn't have completely lost it and turned on Brian the way he had, but he couldn't help how he felt. Love made people do crazy things and his love for Brian was so strong that he was unable to think rationally when he thought about saying goodbye to him. It was probably better to end things early, rather than wait until the final moment of their farce. Maybe the following weeks would give Justin time to start getting over Brian before he actually went back home.
"Oh, who am I kidding?" Justin cried to the empty car. "Nothing is going to help me get over Brian. This whole fucking idea was doomed from the beginning. John, how could you do this to me? Why did you have to bring Brian into my life? And how am I going to go on without him?"
Justin was so caught up in his pain that he didn't see the deer in the road until the last minute. He swerved to avoid it, but the light rain that had begun falling unnoticed caused his wheels to start spinning and Justin quickly lost control of the car. The last thing he saw were the trees up ahead as his car lunged right for them and then everything went black.
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